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LIBERTY UNIVERSITYJohn CalvinSubmitted to Professor Galen Johnson, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion ofCHHI 300-D07 LUOSurvey History of ChristianityA Biography of John Calvin
Known as the theologian for the ages, as Philip Melanchthon named him “the theologian,” John Calvin was born on July 10, 1506 in Noyon, a city in France to Gerard and Jeanne le Franc. Calvin’s childhood took place during the height of the Protestant Reformation when theologians such as Zwingli who boldly disproved reputable doctrines, and Martin Luther who in defiance to the church’s doctrine of selling indulgences (purchasing forgiveness for sins), nailed 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. His father was an elite member of the Noyon diocese functioning as a financial administrator for the Roman Catholic bishop. At theage of twelve, Calvin worked as a scribe in the Catholic Church.The foundational development of his latter reputation of being rated as the most astute teacher and Protestant theologian because of his ability to clearly and profoundly articulate the truth of scripture, began when he entered the University of Paris at the age of fourteen to study theology. Later, with Calvin’s best interest for his future in mind, his father highly recommendedhim studying law. As a result, his legal studies began at the University of Orleans. In 1532, after the death of his father, he received his degree in law. During his time of study at the University of Orleans, Calvin was introduced to the writings of Luther. His interactions with the writings strongly influenced his decision to convert to Christianity. He returned to his theological studiesafter his conversion.The year1533 brought a pivotal change in Calvin’s life concerning his evangelical theological ministry. Nicolas Cop, the head of the University of Paris, and a good friend of Calvin, preached a message to the students encouraging them to embrace reformation based on New Testament doctrine. His message seemed to be heavily influenced by the same views as Luther and thus, he strongly challenged the teachings of devout theologians of that era and many
resisted the teachings. It was believed that Calvin assisted Cop in writing his message and because of this, Calvin had to quickly leave Paris before he could be arrested. “The ‘heretical’ speech given by the Nicholas Cop, the rector of the University of Paris, played a role in this.”1Calvin fled to the estate of Louis du Tillet.